Chicago made Christmas with Felicity premieres on AMC+ on Thanksgiving

The family-friendly holiday movie Christmas with Felicity, directed by award-winning, Chicago-based filmmaker, Jack C. Newell (Monuments), will premiere on AMC+ Thanksgiving Day, November 25.  While Christmas with Felicity is primarily set in the fictitious Wisconsin town of Aspen Grove, the majority of the film was shot on location in Historic Downtown Long Grove and included … Continue reading “Chicago made Christmas with Felicity premieres on AMC+ on Thanksgiving”

70% of AMC Theatres to be open by Friday, September 4

By Friday, September 4, moviegoers can enjoy Warner Bros.’ TENET and all of this summer’s newest releases at approximately 420 AMC Theatres nationwide, which is approximately 70% of AMC’s overall U.S. theatre count. Moviegoers throughout the United States are once again enjoying the magic of the big screen at AMC Theatres, and with every passing … Continue reading “70% of AMC Theatres to be open by Friday, September 4”

Sherri Shepherd hosts ‘Brian Banks’ screening at AMC

The actress / comedian reserved an entire theater to share the film’s “powerful message” with family, friends, supporters, and students from Chicagoland Actress and comedian Sherri Shepherd felt so strongly about the message contained in the film Brian Banks that she rented out an entire theater to share it with students, friends, family, and supporters … Continue reading “Sherri Shepherd hosts ‘Brian Banks’ screening at AMC”

AMC Red Carpet debut for ‘Promise Land’ feature

Immigration – anticipation, fear and pain of leaving one’s homeland for life a new country — is the central theme of the three intertwined stories in the indie dramedy, Promise Land, the first feature of Kevin Dalvi of Nequa Studios.

The 90-minute feature will premiere at an April 20 screening at the AMC River East theatre, starting with a promised glamorous Red Carpet premiere and followed by an entertainment-filled after-party at the NV Penthouse Lounge night club.

AMC taps Zacuto Films for new
Interstices with 150 actors

Zacuto Films partner Jens Bogehegn shot AMC interstices on HD.

AMC waives Parade exhibit fees

Due to the economy and in the spirit of collaboration and community building, the April 9 Parade of E- Learning Vendors won’t pay exhibitor space fees this year.

The third annual small trade show, with a traditional keynote address on the state of the industry, is an all- day event at the Harold Washington Library.

Last year more than 20 local vendors participated and more are expected this year to display what’s new and important in the booming and fast-moving field of E-learning.

Chicago series Somebody Somewhere leading the Dorian TV Nominations

The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics has announced its 14th Dorian TV Awards nominations for the best in all of TV, mainstream to LGBTQIA+ content. Leading the list of TV’s best, with five nominations each, is the HBO comedy Somebody Somewhere and the HBO Max comedy Hacks. Although set in small town Kansas, Somebody Somewhere is filmed in … Continue reading “Chicago series Somebody Somewhere leading the Dorian TV Nominations”

Optimus promotes Ariana DeSimone to Editor

Optimus announced that Ariana DeSimone has been promoted to editor. The latest addition to the leading production and post house’s growing editorial team, Ariana brings creativity, passion, and a relentless work ethic to her role. From her first day with Optimus as a summer intern in 2016, she worked tirelessly, seized creative opportunities, and impressed peers and clients alike. Now, … Continue reading “Optimus promotes Ariana DeSimone to Editor”

Illinois shatters record for film revenues with $630 million in 2021

Governor JB Pritzker and Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot have announced that projected film revenues in 2021 hit a record high of $630 million, shattering pre-pandemic levels in 2019 by $70 million. Film production revenues are the costs associated with film, television, streaming, and digital media, which have steadily increased over the past 10 years. Additionally, … Continue reading “Illinois shatters record for film revenues with $630 million in 2021”

Sheila R. Brown exits from CineCares after a long history of changing lives

Sheila R. Brown has stepped down from her position as Executive Director of the CineCares Division of Cinespace Film Studios. Brown joined the Mirkopoulos and Pissios families at Cinespace in 2016 to help partner in the development of the Mirkopoulos Inclusion Program. The program was part of the CineCares Foundation, created to help young adults … Continue reading “Sheila R. Brown exits from CineCares after a long history of changing lives”

Filmed in Chicago ’61st Street’ premieres on Sunday 4/10

61st Street — the AMC two-season television event with eight episodes per season is set to debut on Sunday, April 10, at 9 pm CT on AMC. The Michael B Jordan series was filmed last year at Cinespace and exterior Chicago locations. Here’s the official information that AMC has made available for Sunday’s Season 1 Episode 1: Moses … Continue reading “Filmed in Chicago ’61st Street’ premieres on Sunday 4/10”

What new series are setting up in Chicago and what’s leaving

What do HBO, Amazon, Hulu, Apple TV, Netflix, NBC/Uni, Sony, Disney, AMC Studios, Showtime, STARZ all have in common? They’ve all moved into town, setup shop, and made themselves a home in Chicago to shoot a tv series. I’ve lived through the ebb and flow of the Chicago film industry since the mid 80s. This … Continue reading “What new series are setting up in Chicago and what’s leaving”

Asian Pop-Up Cinema announces full line up for season 14

Asian Pop-Up Cinema: Season 14 will present 28 films in downtown Chicago and the north suburbs, with select films available for online streaming. The joint virtual and in-person festival opens March 13 and runs through April 10. The diverse lineup celebrates the best of Asian cinema from South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, the Philippines and … Continue reading “Asian Pop-Up Cinema announces full line up for season 14”

Bob Odenkirk opens up about life, death, and reinventing himself

Chicagoland native, Emmy-winning writer, Golden Globe-nominated actor, comedian, director, producer, and Second City alum Bob Odenkirk returned to Chicago to promote his book at an event at the Music Box Theatre. Odenkirk was joined by Tim Meadows, actor/comedian and Second City alum, who you might also recognize from his appearance in the Chicago set of … Continue reading “Bob Odenkirk opens up about life, death, and reinventing himself”

Bob Odenkirk with Tim Meadows: Comedy Comedy Comedy Drama

Chicago Humanities Festival will present Chicago’s own Bob Odenkirk in conversation with Tim Meadows at the Music Box Theatre on March 2 Odenkirk opens up about the highs and lows of Hollywood with fellow SNL alum Meadows. The two legends get candid about all the comedy and drama in showbiz that Odenkirk has lived through and writes about in his … Continue reading “Bob Odenkirk with Tim Meadows: Comedy Comedy Comedy Drama”

Periscope adds Terry O’Bright and Bruce Dobrin to meet surge in post

Full service post-production services provider Periscope Post & Audio, Hollywood and Chicago, has added creative, technical and sales staff to meet a surge in television, streaming and feature projects. The company has brought veteran re-recording mixer Terry O’Bright to its Hollywood facility. O’Bright is a five-time Emmy Award-nominee whose recent credits include the ABC series The … Continue reading “Periscope adds Terry O’Bright and Bruce Dobrin to meet surge in post”

Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween Kills to open CIFF After Dark

The Chicago International Film Festival (CIFF) announced the Opening Night After Dark feature, Halloween Kills, the new chapter in the iconic four-decade horror franchise starring Jamie Lee Curtis and co-written and directed by David Gordon Green.  In 2018, David Gordon Green’s Halloween, starring Curtis, killed at the box office, earning more than $250 million worldwide, becoming the highest-grossing chapter in the four-decade … Continue reading “Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween Kills to open CIFF After Dark”

Chicago International Film Festival announces full lineup of 57th edition

The Chicago International Film Festival announced the full lineup of its 57th edition, running October 13 – 24, 2021. This year’s Festival expands across the City, with screenings at AMC River East 21, Music Box Theatre, Gene Siskel Film Center, drive-in screenings at ChiTown Movies in Pilsen, and neighborhood pop-up screenings at Bronzeville’s historic Parkway … Continue reading “Chicago International Film Festival announces full lineup of 57th edition”

The Chicago International Film Festival announces Opening Night film

The Chicago International Film Festival announced the opening night film at its Opening Night at the Drive-In presentation, and more highlights of the 57th edition, running October 13 – 24, 2021. This year, the Festival expands to venues across Chicago, including AMC River East 21; the Music Box Theatre; and the Gene Siskel Film Center; … Continue reading “The Chicago International Film Festival announces Opening Night film”

Asian Pop-up Cinema season 13 celebrates best Asian-centric cinema

Asian Pop-Up Cinema: Season 13 will present 30 films at an in-person and drive-in festival, with select titles available for online streaming. The festival opens September 15 through October 12, at AMC River East 21, The Davis Theater and ChiTown Drive-In. The programming celebrates the best Asian-centric cinema, with new work made by filmmakers from China, … Continue reading “Asian Pop-up Cinema season 13 celebrates best Asian-centric cinema”

Editor Ariana DeSimone of Optimus teams with Chance the Rapper

After walking away with three Grammys for his 2016 record, Coloring Book, Chicago artist Chance the Rapper set out to perform a concert like no other. The private concert was held at Cinespace Chicago Film Studios back in 2017 for a select group of fans and intentionally staged and filmed as a movie, Magnificent Coloring World. … Continue reading “Editor Ariana DeSimone of Optimus teams with Chance the Rapper”

Cinespace is up and rolling with 4 new series and more

Cinespace Chicago Film Studios welcomes several new productions to its growing campus.  As the Dick Wolf, One Chicago series prepares to wrap soon for the season, Cinespace announced four new series filming at its facilities. The Midwest’s production hot spot and second-largest film studio outside of Los Angeles in North America, recently added another 105,000 … Continue reading “Cinespace is up and rolling with 4 new series and more”

Michael B. Jordan’s ’61st Street’ filming at Cinespace

The Michael B Jordan AMC drama series 61st Street has begun shooting at Cinespace Chicago Film Studios. 61st Street, which has been ordered as a two-season television event series with eight episodes per season, is a propulsive courtroom drama that follows Moses Johnson, a promising, black high school athlete, who is swept up into the infamously corrupt Chicago criminal justice system.   … Continue reading “Michael B. Jordan’s ’61st Street’ filming at Cinespace”

Film Independent Spirit Awards announces nominations

Film Independent announced nominations for the 2021 Film Independent Spirit Awards. Not just another pretty face on the awards circuit, the Spirit Awards are the primary fundraiser for the nonprofit Film Independent’s year-round slate of programs, which cultivate the careers of emerging filmmakers and promote diversity and inclusion in the industry. Film Independent President Josh … Continue reading “Film Independent Spirit Awards announces nominations”

Michael B. Jordan’s 61st Street is on campus at Cinespace

Cinespace Chicago Film Studios‘ president, Alex Pissios has confirmed that the Michael B. Jordan AMC drama series 61st Street is on campus and they will begin shooting in 2021. 61st Street, which has been ordered as a two-season television event series with eight episodes per season, is a propulsive courtroom drama that follows Moses Johnson, a … Continue reading “Michael B. Jordan’s 61st Street is on campus at Cinespace”

The 36th Chicago Latino Film Festival goes virtual

The International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago announced that the 36th Chicago Latino Film Festival will shift to a virtual format and will take place from September 18-27. The Festival was originally scheduled for April 16-30 at the AMC River East 21 Theatres, but was postponed on March 13th when Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot ordered … Continue reading “The 36th Chicago Latino Film Festival goes virtual”

John Conroy, transports Penny Dreadful: City of Angels

John Conroy, ISC helps transport Showtime’s horror franchise ‘Penny Dreadful’ to a new period and location with ‘Penny Dreadful: City of Angels’ Having photographed episodes of the Showtime horror drama Penny Dreadful’s second and third seasons, John Conroy, ISC was eager to reteam with showrunner John Logan to help create its new spin-off, Penny Dreadful: City of Angels.  Described … Continue reading “John Conroy, transports Penny Dreadful: City of Angels”

A CITY AT WAR: CHICAGO Chicagoland during WW II

A CITY AT WAR: CHICAGO, narrated by legendary journalist Bill Kurtis, is a comprehensive telling of nearly everything that happened in Chicagoland during World War II.  This one-hour documentary won the 2018 Chicago International Television Festival Gold Plaque Award for best nonfiction program, and is currently airing on more than 130 public television stations across … Continue reading “A CITY AT WAR: CHICAGO Chicagoland during WW II”

SEE UPDATE: the Chicago Latino Film Fest is postponed

Pepe Vargas, the Founder and Executive Director of the Chicago Latino Film Festival sadly announced the postponement of the 36th annual festival. Due to the concerns for the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the festival originally scheduled to open on April 16 through April 30 at AMC River East 21 Theatres, will be pushed to … Continue reading “SEE UPDATE: the Chicago Latino Film Fest is postponed”

Asian Pop-Up Cinema unveils full schedule for 10th season

Asian Pop-Up Cinema is thrilled to announce the full line-up for its 10th Season by celebrating with 16 new films from Asia. Many of these will feature the top actors and directors who are scheduled to visit our city as guests of the non-profit pan-Asian film organization, Sophia’s Choice. Season Ten runs for five-weeks from … Continue reading “Asian Pop-Up Cinema unveils full schedule for 10th season”

Chicago Latino Film Festival unveils 2020 poster

The International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago (ILCC), producer of the Chicago Latino Film Festival (CLFF), is proud to announce Turkish artist and graphic designer Yağmur Genç as the winner of the 36th Chicago Latino Film Festival Poster Contest. The ILCC received 928 submissions for this year’s contest from Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Jamaica, Mexico, The … Continue reading “Chicago Latino Film Festival unveils 2020 poster”

‘61st Street’ to begin shooting at Cinespace this April

AMC announced today from the Television Critics’ Association (TCA) Press Tour that Emmy Award-winner Courtney B. Vance (The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story, Lovecraft Country, Genius) will star in its upcoming thrilling courtroom drama 61st Street, from BAFTA-winner Peter Moffat (Criminal Justice, The Night Of, Your Honor) and executive-produced by Michael B. … Continue reading “‘61st Street’ to begin shooting at Cinespace this April”

Chicago Latino Film Fest launches streaming platform

CLFFMÁS will initially feature short films chosen from the last five years of the Festival, with more added every month The International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago (ILCC), producer of the Chicago Latino Film Festival (CLFF) among other events, announced today the launch of their streaming platform CLFFmás. Created in partnership with BTEC, an organization … Continue reading “Chicago Latino Film Fest launches streaming platform”

ChiFilmFest opens with fresh new buzz

All-female red carpet helps launch reinvigorated Windy City tradition   The Chicago International Film Festival opened with an all-female red carpet ceremony at the AMC River East last Thursday night. Adding a fresh buzz to decades of Windy City tradition, the 55th annual launch was anchored by Artistic Director Mimi Plauché and Cinema/Chicago Managing Director … Continue reading “ChiFilmFest opens with fresh new buzz”

‘Three Hours’ wins ChiFilmFest’s $20K Pitch

Aemilia Scott, Holli McGinley film follows a single mother living on the edge of Chicago’s Humboldt Park The 55th Chicago International Film Festival has announced the winner of The Pitch at the 5th edition of Industry Days: Three Hours, directed by Aemilia Scott and produced by Holli McGinley. The film follows a single mother living … Continue reading “‘Three Hours’ wins ChiFilmFest’s $20K Pitch”

Kenneth Tsang accepts lifetime achievement award

“As long as I can stand up and work, I will try to contribute.” Kenneth Tsang Kong Chicago’s Asian Pop-Up Cinema festival honored Chinese-born actor and director Kenneth Tsang Kong with a career achievement award before the premiere of The Attorney during the finale of its 2019 Fall Program on Thursday night at AMC River … Continue reading “Kenneth Tsang accepts lifetime achievement award”

ChiFilmFest announces slate for “The Pitch”

Five film projects to compete for $20,000 awards package of in-kind goods and services   The 55th Chicago International Film Festival announced a slate of five narrative feature film projects in active development that will be pitched in front of a live audience and a panel of distinguished industry judges during the Festival’s Industry Days … Continue reading “ChiFilmFest announces slate for “The Pitch””

Architecture, racecars, and the Blues

The ChiFilmFest 2019 program offers moviegoers art, thrills, and the music that inspired Buddy Guy The Chicago International Film Festival announced an ambitious schedule for its 55th annual run during a press event yesterday morning at AMC Theatres River East. Hosted by Artistic Director Mimi Plauché and programmers Anthony Kaufman, Alissa Simon, and Sam Flancher, … Continue reading “Architecture, racecars, and the Blues”

ChiFilmFest unveils Industry Days agenda

Master Classes with Oscar and Sundance winners are just a few of the events scheduled for October 17-20 program     The 55th Chicago International Film Festival announced today the program for Industry Days (October 17-20, 2019) with an impressive list of guest speakers to inspire and illuminate the film and entertainment community.   A … Continue reading “ChiFilmFest unveils Industry Days agenda”

ChiFilmFest unveils Gala & Special Presentations programs

“Knives Out” starring Daniel Craig among first round of films announced for 55th run, October 16-27 Mimi Plauché, Artistic Director of the Chicago International Film Festival, today announced titles selected for the Galas and Special Presentations programs for the 55th edition of the Festival. Offering movie lovers a first look at the year’s most highly … Continue reading “ChiFilmFest unveils Gala & Special Presentations programs”

Chicago Asian Pop-Up Cinema announces season 9

This year’s lineup of musicals, thrillers, dramas, comedies, and awards dazzle the Windy City September 10 through October 10, 2019 Non-profit pan-Asian film organization Sophia’s Choice today announces Asian Pop-Up Cinema – Season Nine, is the film series that cultivates American interest and understanding of Asian culture through movie storytelling while making Chicago a destination … Continue reading “Chicago Asian Pop-Up Cinema announces season 9”

‘Loopers: The Caddie’s Long Walk’ premiere

Members of the Evans Scholars Foundation join hundreds of viewers for the golf-centric film’s Windy City debut More than 200 supporters of the Evans Scholars Foundation visited AMC River East in downtown Chicago on Thursday, May 30, for the Chicago premiere of Loopers: The Caddie’s Long Walk. Hailed as the most thorough feature-length documentary on … Continue reading “‘Loopers: The Caddie’s Long Walk’ premiere”

Interview with former IFO Director Christine Dudley

The woman who helped Illinois make hundreds of TV shows and generate $2.5 billion in revenue talks about the ever-changing Midwestern filmscape Christine Dudley joined the Illinois Film Office at the exact time when the Illinois Film Office needed Christine Dudley. Combining exceptional legislative knowledge with a “modest background in production,” she helped guide the … Continue reading “Interview with former IFO Director Christine Dudley”

Cinepocalypse unveils 2019 lineup

The June 13-20 Music Box Theatre fest opens with the World Premiere of Glenn Danzig’s “Verotika” Cinepocalypse, Chicago’s premiere festival for electrifying and provocative genre cinema, returns to the Music Box Theatre June 13th for eight days of features, shorts, events and surprises, including eight fantastic break-out world premieres! We’re proud to announce our new … Continue reading “Cinepocalypse unveils 2019 lineup”

NEXT/NOW expands business development team

Jared Stabiner, Cameron King join the growing Chicago-based experiential tech and interactive agency Award winning experiential technology agency NEXT/NOW — known for creating original AR/VR, Touch, Gesture, Motion Tracking, and Projection mapping content and software — has recently added agency veterans Jared Stabiner and Cameron King to continue to expand their growing national initiatives.   … Continue reading “NEXT/NOW expands business development team”

Female filmmakers wow crowd at Chicago Latino Fest

Women-directed films win audience choice best feature and best documentary for the second year in a row   Icíar Bollaín’s Yuli and Gretchen Hilebrand’s Decade of Fire honored as 2019 winners The International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago announced today the winners and runner-ups of the 35th Chicago Latino Film Festival and for a second … Continue reading “Female filmmakers wow crowd at Chicago Latino Fest”

Haiti in focus at Chicago Latino Film Fest

Dominican “Broken Island” and Chilean “Petit Frère” represent Haiti and its role in Latino culture, cinema, and politics. Last weekend, the 35th Chicago Latino Film Festival (CLFF) screened a pair of films that focus on the Haitian experience, the Dominican Republic’s La isla rota (Broken Island) and the Chilean Petiè Frère. Reel Chicago sat down … Continue reading “Haiti in focus at Chicago Latino Film Fest”

‘La Isla Rota’ brings celebs to Latin Film Fest

“Captain Marvel’s” Algenis Pérez to appear with his film about youth, revenge, love, and a tragic era of Haitian history Algenis Pérez, who plays the character Att-lass in Captain Marvel, will attend the North American Premiere of his new film, La Isla Rota (Broken Island), at the Chicago Latino Film Festival on Saturday, March 30 … Continue reading “‘La Isla Rota’ brings celebs to Latin Film Fest”

The 35th annual Chicago Latino Film Festival

The two-week event launches on March 28 with Icían Bollaín’s “Yuli” followed by a “Noche Cubana” celebration The 35th Chicago Latino Film Festival (CLFF) will take place March 28-April 11 at the AMC River East 21, 322 E. Illinois St. and will feature over 100 feature-length and short films from Latin America, Spain, Portugal and … Continue reading “The 35th annual Chicago Latino Film Festival”

Chicago’s Asian Pop-Up Cinema, March 12 – April 24

Consolidated series presents premieres, partner screenings, special guests and sixteen films, from across the Asian continent Non-profit pan-Asian film organization Sophia’s Choice today announces Asian Pop-Up Cinema – Season Eight, the spring film series presenting sixteen films from across Asia, running March 12 through April 24, 2019. The schedule represents a consolidated schedule, with more … Continue reading “Chicago’s Asian Pop-Up Cinema, March 12 – April 24”

‘Black Panther’ star’s next project set in Chicago

AMC Networks opens a writers room for Michael B. Jordan’s Windy City series, “61st Street” Here’s potential good news for the Chicago production community. According to The Wrap, AMC Networks has opened a writers room (sorry Chicago writers, the rooms are in LA) for Michael B. Jordan’s 61st Street, a “murder mystery” that dives into … Continue reading “‘Black Panther’ star’s next project set in Chicago”

Chicago Latino Film Fest unveils poster for 35th run

Rome-based Polish artist Michal Tadeusz Golanski’s design celebrates women’s contribution to the art form   The International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago (ILCC), producer of the Chicago Latino Film Festival (CLFF), is proud to announce the winner of the 35th Chicago Latino Film Festival Poster Contest: Rome-based Polish graphic artist Michal Tadeusz Golanski. A graduate … Continue reading “Chicago Latino Film Fest unveils poster for 35th run”

Fandango’s ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ sneak peek

Chicago fans and Fandango VIP members can see the final installment of the epic dragon trilogy on Feb 2 Fandango, the leading digital network for all things movies, is teaming up with DreamWorks Animation to offer exclusive early access screenings on February 2 of How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, the third chapter … Continue reading “Fandango’s ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ sneak peek”

Film Office Director Rich Moskal: a tough act to follow

The man who arranged gunfights on the el, demolition in the loop, and “Transformer” battles on Wacker Drive explains how the CFO got it done Rich Moskal helped to present the Windy City as a place of beauty, romance, destruction, and chaos in more than 5,000 films, TV shows, web series, and commercials while serving … Continue reading “Film Office Director Rich Moskal: a tough act to follow”

‘The Hate U Give’ wins Chi Film Fest Audience Award

Moviegoers named George Tillman, Jr.’s racially sensitive crime drama as Best English Language Film of this year’s event The 54th annual Chicago International Film Festival lived up to its status as the longest-running competitive festival in North America by hosting sold-out screenings of work in several categories over its eleven-day run, which officially closed last … Continue reading “‘The Hate U Give’ wins Chi Film Fest Audience Award”

Andre Royo talks about “Beautiful Boy”

While offering profound insight about addiction, the star from “The Wire” becomes a most enjoyable interview at the Chicago International Film Fest Andre Royo spent a minute with Reel Chicago on the red carpet for Beautiful Boy during the Chicago International Film Festival last week. The actor who gained millions of fans during seven seasons … Continue reading “Andre Royo talks about “Beautiful Boy””

Stars pack Chicago Film Fest screening of ‘Widows’

Academy Award-winners Viola Davis and Steve McQueen led a celebrity cavalcade that buzzed throughout the AMC River East lobby   A number of stars from the big-budget action movie, Widows, lit up a red carpet celebration before the film’s screening for the Chicago International Film Festival at AMC River East on Saturday night. Academy Award-winner … Continue reading “Stars pack Chicago Film Fest screening of ‘Widows’”

Chicago Int’l Film Fest releases Industry Days schedule

Headliners include Oscar-­winning director Steve McQueen, Emmy-­nominated writer Bashir Salahuddin, and award-­winning producers Albert Berger and Bob Teitel (Chicago — 26 September 2018) The complete program of Industry Days (Oct. 11­14) at the 54th Chicago International Film Festival was announced today with an impressive list of guest speakers to inspire and illuminate the Midwest film … Continue reading “Chicago Int’l Film Fest releases Industry Days schedule”

Hollywood Comes to Chicago — 1979

“Blues Brothers” director John Landis describes impending explosions while scouting locations in John Davies’ vintage short film In 1979, Chicago filmmaker John Davies produced a short titled, Hollywood Comes to Chicago, that featured a tour through the Windy City and its film production industry. He planned to submit the piece to WTTW’s Image Union, a … Continue reading “Hollywood Comes to Chicago — 1979”

The 9th Annual Chicago South Asian Film Festival

Advancing diversity through cinema, conversation and culture, CSAFF provides a world platform for South Asian talent, stories and themes (Chicago — 11 September 11) The Chicago South Asian Film Festival (CSAFF) is proud to host over a 100 filmmakers and artists, representing over 60 films in Chicago at Columbia College and the Showplace Icon and … Continue reading “The 9th Annual Chicago South Asian Film Festival”

Chicago Int’l Film Fest releases 54th annual lineup

Big-budget premieres, exquisite docs, thoughtful shorts, special events, and a deep well of unsung gems create the “stunning variety” of this year’s program The Chicago International Film Festival announced the majority the films screening over its 54th annual run at the AMC Theaters earlier today. Culling from more than 6,000 submissions — the highest in … Continue reading “Chicago Int’l Film Fest releases 54th annual lineup”

“America to Me” sparks a national conversation

“White people have to more than just think that it’s okay to not act in a racist way … they actually have to actively do something” Director Steve James America to Me explores a national crisis, but that’s just the beginning. The ten-part docuseries, premiering August 26 on the Starz Network, is a call to … Continue reading ““America to Me” sparks a national conversation”

Asian Pop-Up Cinema returns to Chicago September 12

Features seventeen films from across the Asian continents, presents premieres including Japanese zombie comedy “One Cut of the Dead” as Closing Night — tickets on sale now (Chicago — 13 August 2018) — Non-profit pan-Asian film organization Sophia’s Choice today announces Asian Pop-Up Cinema – Season Seven, the fall film series presenting seventeen films from … Continue reading “Asian Pop-Up Cinema returns to Chicago September 12”

“A Chance in the World” is more than a success story

Based on the true story of a heartbreaking childhood, “A Chance in the World” advocates for a group of Americans who are often ignored   Mark Vadik’s Chicago-made film adaption of Steve Pemberton’s memoir about overcoming child abuse and tragedy, A Chance in the World, is more than a success story — it is a … Continue reading ““A Chance in the World” is more than a success story”

May 30 is the one chance to see “A Chance in the World”

Foster child’s incredible true story offers inspiration and hope in ‘A Chance in the World,’ in cinemas May 30 only The powerful story debuts during National Foster Care Month, and includes a live panel discussion about the foster care system       (Denver — 30 April 2018) Moviegoers nationwide have the unique opportunity to … Continue reading “May 30 is the one chance to see “A Chance in the World””

22nd annual Colcoa French Film Festival lineup announced

(Los Angeles — 22 April 2018) The Franco-American Cultural Fund announced the program for the 22nd Colcoa French Film Festival, which will run April 23-30 at the Directors Guild of America in Los Angeles. Showcasing a record 86 films, television series, digital series and VR programs, 75 of which will complete for the Colcoa Awards, … Continue reading “22nd annual Colcoa French Film Festival lineup announced”

“Murder in the Woods” at Chicago Latino Film Fest

Chicago’s Yelyna De Leon produced, acted in, and wrote the script for a teen slasher that will screen at the 34th Chicago Latino Film Festival (CLFF). Titled Murder in the Woods, the English-language, U.S.-produced film was directed and produced by Mexican-born filmmaker Luis Iga.     A Latin American film Murder in the woods has … Continue reading ““Murder in the Woods” at Chicago Latino Film Fest”

Chi Latino Fest’s Vargas on cinema, culture, and the wall

Over the past five decades, Pepe Vargas has lived on two continents, fled a military dictatorship, earned a law degree, worked as a busboy, and founded the Chicago Latino Film Festival (CLFF) and the International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago (ILCC). Along the way, he not only learned to appreciate multiculturalism, art, and politics, but … Continue reading “Chi Latino Fest’s Vargas on cinema, culture, and the wall”

Chicago Int’l TV Fest celebrates “Art of the Commercial”

The awards ceremony for the 54th Annual Chicago International Television Festival packed AMC River East in Streeterville last Thursday night. The evening began with a reception in the Wine Room at the Lucky Strike bowling alley, restaurant, and lounge, which is located on the second floor of the building where the theater resides. Executive directors, … Continue reading “Chicago Int’l TV Fest celebrates “Art of the Commercial””

Periscope praises “Empire,” Trump calls “Roseanne”

Half of ‘Empire’s’ mid-season premiere filmed as one-act play (Spoiler alert: Please don’t read ahead unless you’ve seen “Empire’s” midseason premiere.) Sheesh, it sure has been a minute since Empire has been on. The series, which is filmed at Cinespace Studios, returned with its mid-season premiere last night. In the episode titled “Birds in a … Continue reading “Periscope praises “Empire,” Trump calls “Roseanne””

The future of paid family leave in “Zero Weeks”

Ky Dickens’ latest doc energizes a growing urgent discussion about an impending national crisis Chicago director Ky Dickens earned a lot of trust from the people she interviewed for Zero Weeks, a documentary about the importance of paid family leave. Asking for descriptions of intimate and often painful experiences, she combined a proven professional technique … Continue reading “The future of paid family leave in “Zero Weeks””

The Mill, Burrell, Cow Lamp, Obamas, Wakanda news

Live action director and VFX supervisor Ergin Kuke joins The Mill+ Chicago Ergin Kuke will soon begin working his LA-honed, box office savvy as Creative Director for The Mill+ Chicago, according to a press release issued today.     Kuke has notched an expansive variety of experience since relocating to the States from his native … Continue reading “The Mill, Burrell, Cow Lamp, Obamas, Wakanda news”

CLFF launches April 5 with “Night of Puerto Rico”

The Chicago Latino Film Festival (CLFF) will launch its 34th annual celebration with a “Night of Puerto Rico” gala on Thursday, April 5. The event begins with a pair of highly anticipated film premieres at AMC River East and continues with a cocktail reception at nearby Chez, 247 E. Ontario. Raúl Marchand Sánchez’s new comedy, … Continue reading “CLFF launches April 5 with “Night of Puerto Rico””

Latino film fest poster is an artistic breakthrough

The 34th annual Chicago Latino Film Festival poster is a testament to the universal power of art. Featuring a strip of film that runs like a sidewalk through a broken wall in a mountainous desert, the poster’s fresco style illustration communicates the same message that the event has made obvious for decades: Latin culture rocks. … Continue reading “Latino film fest poster is an artistic breakthrough”

MullenLowe, NFL, Johnson, Elizabeth in the news

MullenLowe L.A. wins Whole Foods According to Ad Age, Amazon finally finished shopping for a new creative agency for its newly acquired Whole Foods Market. The report says, the Austin, Texas-based grocery chain has chosen MullenLowe L.A., as its CAOR after a review. The review, which was run by SRI, began in late June. After … Continue reading “MullenLowe, NFL, Johnson, Elizabeth in the news”

Selikow leaves Burnett for DDB

DDB Chicago announced today that the agency had lured away 14-year Burnett veteran Colin Selikow to serve as Executive Creative Director on the Miller Lite and Mars Wrigley Confectionery accounts. Selikow rose to creative lead on both Samsung Mobile and United Healthcare. His team’s award-winning film entitled “Ostrich” recently earned seven Cannes Lions. “When I … Continue reading “Selikow leaves Burnett for DDB”

McGarryBowen CCO to talk “Bloody Mess” in Cannes

Tomorrow morning at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, McGarryBowen chief creative officer Ned Crowley will launch a new event format with a presentation titled, “A Bloody Mess — How Advertising Saved My Movie and My Sanity.”

Crowley will describe the four-month sabbatical that he took from his professional advertising job and devoted to completing a feature film on a small budget in early 2015.

According to McGarryBowen, who is hosting Crowley’s appearance, he chose a time of “tumultuous agency change and business upheaval” to make the foray into filmmaking.

Burnett winner of two AICP Next Awards, here Nov. 3

The AICP Next Awards, an extension of the AICP Show that traditionally climaxes a year of special events in Chicago, screens Nov. 3 at the AMC 600 N. Michigan Ave. theatre.

Optimus executive producer and freelance spot producer Marsie Wallach are producing the Chicago Next Awards that honor winners of “the most innovative work in alternative media projects,” says AICP/Midwest president Mark Androw of STORY.

CIFF debuts program of local directors’ short films

ONE OF THE HIGHLIGHTS of the Oct. 13-27 Chicago International Film Festival is the “Shorts 1: City & State” program of eight films produced by Chicago / Illinois filmmakers.

The program screens Oct. 18, 23 and 26 at the AMC River East 21 Theatres. Gender roles and identity, God, police brutality, the meaning of life and a Bosnian refugee experience are among the topics explored in the films.

Androw reelected president of AICP/Midwest a third time

The Chicago-headquartered AICP / Midwest has elected new officers and board beginning Oct 1 for a two-year term, with Mark Androw of STORY reelected for a third term as president.

AICP / Midwest is one of seven regional chapters. Its membership consists of 22 General Member and 24 Associate Member companies.

The newly elected officers, in addition to Androw, are freelance producer Marsie Wallach as vice president, who is new to the board, and Essanay Studios’ Wayne Kubacki, returning for his second term as treasurer.

SCC’s Cubs spot goes wildly viral with millions of hits

A 30-SECOND CUBS SPOT, “Fly the W,” created by Chicago Cubs’ agency Schafer Carter Condon (SCC) featuring the narration of injured Cubs catcher Kyle Schwarber, was designed to get fans excited about the Cubs’ National Division Series playoffs starting Oct. 7.

And it did it ever! — the spot was a hit waaaay out of the park, beyond anyone’s expectations, by garnering an amazing two million-plus views since it was posted on Facebook a scant two weeks ago.

CIFF to honor directors Bogdanovich and McQueen

Two tributes will be paid to iconic award-winning film directors at the 52nd Chicago International Film Festival coming up Oct. 13-27.

Pete Bogdanovich (“The Last Picture Show”) will receive a Gold Hugo Lifetime Achievement Award and in conjunction with the 25th anniversary of CIFF’s Black Perspectives, a tribute will be paid to British filmmaker, Oscar and BAFTA-winning director Steve McQueen (“12 Years a Slave”).

The Whitehouse and Burnett the big TV Awards winners

Chicago agencies and post houses overwhelmed last week’s International Television Awards, scoring 10 out of 12 top awards for excellence in TV commercials. The awards were held Wednesday, April 20, at the AMC River North theatres before a full house.

The Whitehouse post scored four awards and Leo Burnett earned three.

Chicago-created spots dominate TV Awards’ finalists

Out of the 21 finalists in the upcoming Chicago International Television Awards, 16 spots came from Chicago-based agencies: eight spots from Leo Burnett; three from DDB Chicago, two from Pinnacle Advertising, Schaumburg and one each from Cramer-Krasselt, Digitas and Cavalry.

One finalist each from Iris New York, BBDO/New York, TBWA/Chiat/Day, New York and Innocean Worldwide, Seoul, Korea.

The Whitehouse edited nine of the finalist spots.

Steve Conrad among TV pros at TV Awards, April 18-20

Writer/director Steve Conrad, actor Gary Cole, TV show creators and “Empire’s” key crew members will be among the TV pros holding forth on the trials and triumphs of TV show production at the Chicago International Television Awards (CITA) April 18-20 at the AMC River East 21 theatres.

This marks the first time, CITA (formerly the Hugo Awards) is expanding its single TV awards evening into a three-day event.

It’s that time again: Optimus Block Party on Aug. 2

OPTIMUS 18TH ANNUAL BLOCK PARTY is right around the corner on Friday, Aug. 2 (always the first Friday in August) bringing together clients, colleagues and friends for its annual summer afternoon-into-night of fun.  “Yes, we’ll have a special guest as always,” someone well known and unexpected promises Gretchen Praeger, VP/managing director of Optimus post, and one of the party planners. 

20 West’s new docusoap set in famous Texas bar/grill

TWO NEW SHOWS FOR 20 WEST PRODUCTIONS. According to Scot Thor, SVP/development and production, the Intersport division is going into production into its first MTV program – a docusoap called “South of Heaven.” It follows the beautiful 20something girls who work at the famous “Redneck Restaurant and Bar (a fan gave it 5 stars: 3 stars for the food and an extra 2 stars for the women) in Lewisville, Texas, near Ft. Worth. 

Columbia Night and David Chase light up CIFF, Oct. 16

YOU NEVER KNOW who’s going to show up at the Chicago International Film Festival, which is part of the fun of attending.  On Friday night, actor Vince Vaughn showed up to support his sister Valeri Vaughn’s documentary, “Art of Conflict: The Murals of Northern Ireland,” which he narrates, that examines how street art tells the story of Northern Ireland’s history.   He also participated in a post-screening question-and-answer session.

‘City & State’ a CIFF tribute to local indie cinema

Harry Lennix shows up as a controversial comic a la Richard Pryor at his wife’s (Tatum O’Neill) Chicago night club, in Mr. Sophistication, one of nine features and six shorts in the “City & State” section of the 48th Chicago International Film Festival’s spotlight on our vibrant indie cinema scene.

“City & State” films, by local filmmakers and shot in Chicago and the state, screen throughout the Oct. 11-25 festival at AMC River East theatres.

Job openings continue for laid-off Roscor veterans

JOB OFFERS KEEP POURING IN for Roscor’s former skilled employees, 100 of whom were suddenly and sadly terminated from the 35-year old Mt. Prospect-based AV equipment company on Black Friday, Oct. 28.  Many had been with the company for 20 years, and some as long as 30 years. 

Companies from all over who learned about the mass layoffs have reached out to the former staffers with job openings! 

Invitations to send in letters, resumes and applications appear in the BackTalk, or comments section, following our recent Roscor stories.

Filmmaker Harris takes a risk with Englewood Film Fest

Filmmaker Mark Harris of 1555 Filmworks is doing something bold and brave, without any sponsorship support to speak of, for the love and hope of his neighborhood, which happens to be the most stricken in the city.

Harris is hosting the Englewood Film Festival, the first held inside Chicago’s African American community on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 28-29 at Kennedy King College at 63rd and Halsted, in the heart of the beleaguered South Side Englewood neighborhood.

Ghazi/Pickart’s ‘Fordson’ doc rolls out theatrically

The important film that documentarian Michael Moore says he wants “everyone in the country to watch, Fordson: Faith, Fasting, Football, will screen exclusively for local filmmakers here Monday, Sept. 12 during its national theatrical rollout that week. 

“We’re inviting fellow professionals to come celebrate with us and see that high-quality, nationally distributed theatrical releases are being produced and post produced in Chicago,” says Fordson editor Ed Pickart of Motion Post.

Writer/director Jamal’s music drama about a ‘90s band

SMASHED! A short film by writer/director Theophilus Jamal, about a band struggling to stay together during the changing Chicago alternative rock music scene in the ‘90s starts production Sept. 23 on a micro-budget.

Producers are Jamal’s Hipsters Union Productions and Kristine Kruse’s Red 27 Productions.  Jamal is a second year DePaul graduate student and Kruse is an MFA graduate student in DePaul’s Digital Cinema school. 

Industry marketing pro Nancy Reid teams with ReelChicago

A FIRST FOR THE REEL!  After years of managing the Reel solo, I am delighted that industry pro Nancy Reid has joined the Reel as VP/development.

In that role, Nancy will spearhead the Reel’s expansion in the coming months.  We plan to widen our coverage and become involved in multiple media to connect and serve our growing readership and advertisers the best way possible.

Bednarowicz’ comedy short gets a global deal

Writer/director Eric Bednarowicz’ 18-minute comedy, “Carpe Millennium,” is not only included in a compilation of shorts from around the world, but the program will be distributed internationally starting this spring.

Oracle Releasing, a Los Angeles-based film sales and distributor, picked up Bednarowicz’ short after seeing it in one of the many festivals in which the film screened this year.

The story is about a young man (Steven Yeun of AMC’S “The Walking Dead”) who is determined to lose his virginity on the eve of the millennium.

Schwimmer and Cumming to walk the Red Carpet

DAVID SCHWIMMER AND ALAN CUMMING are the stars at CIFF’s Red Carpet Monday night. The Festival welcomes openly gay actor Cumming, who receives the fest’s Artistic Achievement Award as part of its OUTrageous Program, celebrating contributions to GLBT films.

Foundation Content wins a prestigous Gold Hugo

GOLD HUGOS TEND TO BE SCARCE around these parts, so it was with understandable great excitement that Foundation Content’s Samantha Hart received word of a Gold Hugo awarded to their United Way piece in the Charitable Activity category.

“Everyone on the team collaborated on the film,” says Hart, to produce the 2-minute piece for presentation at United Way’s gala benefit last May,” says Hart, who came up with the Hugo Gold idea.

The piece utilized live action and special effects in the use of a clothes line criss-crossing the city.

Illinois(e)Makers program showcases 11 films

The Illinois(e)Makers program of six locally made features — showcasing the best features, documentaries and short films with their roots in our home state ? figures prominently at the Chicago International Film Festival.

Illinois(e)Makers plays at various times throughout the 46th festival, which starts screening Thursday, at the AMC River East multiplex, through Oct. 21.

Here’s the program:

The Defiled, directed by Julian Grant, a Columbia College assistant professor with 29 features to his credit, is a zombie movie seen through fresh eyes: those of the zombie.

Chicago Int’l Film Festival arrives in 6 weeks

OCTOBER WILL BE HERE quicker than we can say “Chicago International Film Festival.” The 46th annual event Oct. 7-21 will host 150 important films from all over the world, starting with the Chicago premiere of “Stone,” starring Edward Norton and Robert De Niro, directed by John Curran, who directed “The Painted Veil” which also starred Norton.

“Shakey” signs stars Guttenberg, D’Angelo

KEVIN COOPER’S 3D dog comedy, “Shakey,” which starts shooting this month in the western suburbs, signed lead actors Steve Guttenberg (“Police Academy”), Beverly D’Angelo of the National Lampoon’s Vacation series) and Alfonso Arau (“The Three Amigos”).

Cooper, a Hollywood executive turned Columbia College professor, makes his directorial debut with “Shakey,” which is possibly the first comedy to shoot anywhere in stereoscopic 3D.

WIFC’s Focus Award honors Merri Dee

WOMEN IN FILM has made a righteous choice to honor broadcast trailblazer, talk show host, news anchor and community activist Merri Dee as its 2010 Focus Award honoree.

Dee has parlayed her celebrity into many children’s and educational charitable works. She spearheaded Illinois’ victims rights’ legislation after she and one of her talk show guests had been kidnapped, driven to a wooded area, shot twice in the head and left for dead, in 1971.

After retiring from WGN-TV in 2008 after 30 years, Dee formed full-service MD Communications.

Optimus’ Craig Lewandowski makes the cut

THE AICE CHICAGO’S BEST AWARD went to Optimus’ Craig Lewandowski for a spot for Cricket Wireless from Element 79, at the gala national AICE Awards Show held Thursday night at the Field Museum. The show was the 9th annual competition honoring creative excellence in editorial, design and visual effects.

Alas, Lewandowski was the sole Chicago winner among the 23 awardees, although the work of six local editors made it into the finals.

Sears starts selling Samsung 3D sets

It looks like HD has arrived at the consumer home entertainment level. Sears is now selling Samsung 3D television sets, although there are no 3D movies on DVD or shows on television for home viewing. Nonetheless, the retailer expects to sell at least 2 million 3D sets this year and suggests that number may be conservative.

Samsung’s HD 3D flat-screen sets televisions will be available with plasma, LCD or LED displays and feature Samsung’s Internet@TV service, a connection to a home broadband network via Ethernet or WiFi.

WIF discussion: “Bringing Production to Chicago”

WOMEN IN FILM’S well-attended Executive Breakfast March 31 takes on a very broad subject — a panel discussion about “Bringing Production to Chicago.”

That provocative title could mean Hollywood features. Or it also could mean trying to stimulate commercial production, since Dan “Ziggy” Ziguluch, Draftfcb’s production head, is a panelist, along with the IFO’s Betsy Steinberg. Producer and former IFP president Sandy Gordon is the moderator. The Wit Hotel is the venue.

Thumbs up for Roger Ebert’s new TV show

WELCOME BACK, ROGER! It looks like Roger Ebert is returning to television with a new syndicated movie review show from Chicago, expected to be taped at WYCC/Ch. 20.

Ebert’s TV return was announced in the briefest of terms on Oprah’s Pre-Oscar Celebration show Monday, with Ebert and his wife Chaz, and pretty much confirmed by a station executive.

As part of the Eberts’ appearance on the show was “A Day in the Life of ?” which included scenes of the couple arriving at WYCC/Ch. 20.

Ebert has a full-fledged production company and t’is said that Ch.

Acting siblings return to Chicago

Hollywood actor Casey Siemaszko grew up deeply immersed in Chicago’s Polish community, performing with his parents’ Polish dance troupe. And Siemaszko’s father Konstanty fought for the Polish underground in World War II.

Siemaszko made a fitting return to his hometown Friday night for the opening of the 21st Polish Film Festival in America, at the AMC River East 21 theatre.

Sweet Home Illinois a sweet night in L.A.

SWEET HOME CHICAGO was a spectacular success Monday at the Le Grande Orange restaurant in Santa Monica, when 350 Chicagoans in the industry turned out for a night of meetups, fun and some down home Chicago food favorites.

Sweet Home was picked up by former IFO director Brenda Sexton after a four-year hiatus, Lettuce Entertain You’s Rich Melman and entertainer Tom Dreesen, who emceed the first party 20 years ago and most of the 15 since then.

CIFF Summer Gala tribute to Tarantino Aug. 18

Director Quentin Tarantino will receive a special tribute at the Chicago International Film Festival’s 2009 Summer Gala Aug. 18, along with the Chicago premiere screening of Tarentino’s wildly awaited “Inglourious Basterds.”

The Tarantino tribute features a montage of his groundbreaking body of work and a Career Achievement Award from Cinema/Chicago, celebrating its 45th anniversary this year.

The tribute and premiere will be held at the AMC East theatre, starting at 6 p.m., followed by a reception at theWit hotel following the tribute and screening at 9:30 p.m.

“The Merry Gentleman” a must-see movie

Christine Varotsis, Mark Hogan and Tom Bastounes urge us to get our butts over to a seat in a theatre showing “The Merry Gentleman” this week to show support of a locally-made film.

The call for action comes after Chicago showed an embarrassingly low per-screen average compared with New York and Los Angeles… like 40% lower.


$10,000 check for Malachi Leopold’s Sudan doc

MALACHI LEOPOLD IS BOUND FOR THE SUDAN, thanks to a $10,000 grant he received in order to make the expenses of the trip. He departs April 5 for a full month of shooting a documentary centered on one of the Lost Boys of Sudan, who returns to his native village after a 22 year separation from his parents.

Leopold received the $10,000 check April 1 from the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees based in Geneva, Switzerland.

He will be accompanied by DP Ian Issitt and two New York producers.

Illinois is the “State of Romance” for NBC pilot

LOVE IS IN THE AIR for the first Hollywood project to be shot in Chicago so far this year, breaking the nine-month dry spell and portending more business ahead. The NBC half-hour pilot, “State of Romance,” gets underway March 30.

The half hour romantic comedy, described as a modern day “Pride and Prejudice,” will shoot for eight days entirely on location ? no sets called for at all.

Essanay is supplying the lighting and grip equipment. UPM is Rich Lederer (“The Beast”). Universal Media Studios is producing the single-camera project.

Dobson’s Radio Hall of Fame induction stays

THE RADIO HALL OF FAME induction of controversial conservative broadcaster Dr. James Dobson of “Focus on the Family” stays, regardless of protests to the contrary by gay and other anti-bigotry groups.

Bruce DuMont, president/founder of the Museum of Broadcast Communications, Radio Hall of Fame sponsor, defended Dr. Dobson’s nomination by the RHOF steering committee. “Radio is an industry predicated on free speech — Dr.

“Check Please” short wins IFO check

Agency creative Larry Ziegelman’s romantic comedy short, “Check, Please,” based on a family incident, won the Illinois Film Office’s first Shortcuts short film contest.

IFO director Betsy Steinberg presented Ziegelman with a check for $665 and a crystal star award before his film screened as part of CIFF’s Short Films program Monday night at the AMC River East theatre.

Ziegelman, an ACD on the State Farm account at DDB, says he will use the check towards his next, more ambitious comedy that he will direct this weekend.

All this week at CIFF: Spotlight Illinois films

Locally-made features by Carl Seaton, Joe Swanberg and Tom Gustafson, a feature doc about an underground rocker, and 10 shorts shine in the Spotlight Illinois section of the 44th Chicago International Film Festival.

The 14 locally-made films screen on different days throughout the festival, now through Oct. 29, at AMC River East, 322 E. Illinois.

Executive producer Robert Townsend stars in “Of Boys and Men,” the third feature by Columbia alum Seaton (“One Week”), shot on a reported $650,000 budget.

Brendan Fraser introduces “REAL D” technology used to film “Journey to the Center of the Earth”

Opening last week in more than 1,250 theatres nationwide, “Journey to the Center of the Earth” is the first wide-release movie filmed exclusively in the ?REAL D’ format.

As the AMC River East hosted the debut public screening, Reel Chicago heard the movie’s star, Brendan Fraser, and director Eric Brevig present the new technology.

Despite his established status, Brendan Fraser seemed both genuinely nervous and excited as he asked the audience to put on their “Buddy Hollies” before the screening began.

U.S. biggest International Latino Film Fest April 4-17 screens 10 “Made in Chicago” docs and shorts

An estimated audience of 30,000 is expected to attend the 24th International Latino Film Festival, April 4-16 ? the nation’s largest cultural event, says founder Pepe Vargas.

Opening night spotlights the Spanish film, “El Prado de las Estrella” (“The Field of Stars”), at the AMC River East 21 Theaters, followed by a party at the River East Art Center.

“I’m Not There:” Director Todd Haynes talks about his fractured biography of Bob Dylan’s personas

Todd Haynes’ fractured Bob Dylan biopic “I’m Not There,” now in theatres, leads the nominees for the Independent Spirit Awards. Haynes talked with the audience after a preview screening at AMC River East, moderated by New City’s Ray Price.

Haynes casts six actors portraying different elements of Dylan’s persona, each shot in a distinct cinematic style inspired by the era.

Far out! Ad agency The Ungar Group creates its own TV commercial targeted to business leaders

Way back in the day of the adworld so aptly portrayed by the AMC series “Mad Men,” agencies largely promoted themselves through full-page ads mainly in Advertising Age to reach potential clients.

Few agencies since toot their own horns anymore, despite the horrific competition for new business. The welcome exception is The Ungar Group.

The latest in an on-going business development campaign is spot is called “Demanding Clients” and the copy was taken from a conventional want ad page.

A free feature screening and a very low cost screenwriters seminar kick off November’s events

HERE’S A REEL DEAL. Get free tickets to the screening of Jeff Garlin’s “I Want Someone to eat Cheese With” at the Nov. 6 Midwest Independent Film Festival by going to

AND HERE’S ANOTHER. For a mere $15 aspiring screenwriters can learn about the craft, art and business of screenwriting from Paul Peditto, one of Chicago’s best teachers. He’s also a Jeff Award-winning playwright and filmmaker.

The Chicago Filipino American Film Festival and “7?

Look for Linney, Affleck, Hopkins, Sayles, Wright and more at Oct. 4-17 Chicago Int’l Film Festival

The world spotlight will shine on Chicago Oct. 4 when the 43rd Chicago International Film Festival?the longest running film festival in North America?opens for a two week run.

Some 150 features, shorts, student films and docs from more than 40 countries, many brightened by their stars and directors, will screen at five downtown and North Side venues.

The opening night program will be dedicated to Roger Ebert, who will be celebrated as the man who changed the way audiences watch movies.

“The Dark Knight” lights up Chicago for 3 months as possibly the biggest feature ever to shoot here

“THE DARK KNIGHT” the latest “Batman” installment will forever be known as “one of the biggest features we’ve ever had in terms of scope, spending and job creation,” says CFO’s Rich Moskal.

How big? Out of $150 million budget, it’s expected to pump $45 million into the local economy and hire 390 crew persons, 250 day players and 6,000 extras.

This week “Knight” shoots exteriors and helicopter shots, goes to London for two weeks, then returns to stay through early September.

“Ocean’s Thirteen” premieres here June 7

SPINNING HUNK POWER INTO RELIEF AID, “Ocean’s Thirteen” will have a June 7 Chicago premiere to support relief efforts in war-torn Darfur.

Producer Jerry Weintraub and “Ocean’s Thirteen” stars George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and Don Cheadle will hit Chicago on a three-city tour?L.A. on June 5 and Las Vegas on June 6.

Vanity Fair will host the Chicago premiere. It will include the screening at AMC River East 21, followed by a glitzy party at the new Room 21 restaurant and night club due to open at 2100 S. Wabash.

“Ocean’s Thirteen” premieres here June 7

SPINNING HUNK POWER INTO RELIEF AID, “Ocean’s Thirteen” will have a June 7 Chicago premiere to support relief efforts in war-torn Darfur. Producer Jerry Weintraub and “Ocean’s Thirteen” stars George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and Don Cheadle will hit Chicago on a three-city tour — L.A. on June 5 and Las Vegas on June 6.

Vanity Fair will host the Chicago premiere. It will include the screening at AMC River East 21, followed by a glitzy party at the new Room 21 restaurant and night club due to open at 2100 S. Wabash.

Two Kodak favorites to retire Jan. 31

TWO KODAK VETERANS have taken advantage of Kodak’s tempting early retirement package and will leave the company Jan. 31.

Regional marketing and sales manager J.J. Johnston had spent 33 years at Kodak, while regional account manager Ben Stone was close behind with 27 years.

In early January, Kodak will announce its reorganization of personnel placement and how territories will be divided as it moves deeper ito digital imaging.

Speculation is that the reorganization will not call for replacing the two Chicago veterans.

Chicago-produced films recognized this week in Chicago International Film Festival screenings

DANIELLE BEVERLY’S documentary “Learning to Swallow,” about Wicker Park artist Patsy Desmond’s journey to recovery after a suicide attempt destroyed her digestive system, screens at the Film Festival Wednesday, Oct 12 at 4:30 p.m. at AMC River East, 322 E. Illinois.

Beverly has been on the producing team for PBS documtaries.

They include include “Dance From the Heart” about the Joffrey Ballet, “Project Rebirth” about the healing process after 9/11, “Blink,” and the series “Independent View.”

“Homesick Blues” screens at three major fests

“HOMESICK BLUES”, the 15-minute short that my wife Junko Kajino and I made in Osaka, Japan, will have its world premiere Oct. 8 at the Chicago International Film Festival.

The short is a prelude to our forthcoming feature film, also called “Homesick Blues.”

The short stars Japanese pop singer Zoey as an 18-year-old girl who runs away from her Osaka home, headed for Chicago hell-bent on becoming a blues singer.

Music by Shun Kikuta of Koko Taylor’s Blues Machine. Stephen Combs shot and edited. Sound by Benjamin Steger, Mark Messing and Adam Frick.

Jamie Ceaser produces weekly movie review show in L.A. for former Ch. 11 colleague John Davies

Veteran TV show producer Jamie Ceaser is working in L.A. for the next two months producing “Movie Club with John Ridley” that airs Fridays on AMC. She was brought aboard by executive producer John Davies, her old friend from Ch. 11 days.

“Sneak Previews” meets “The McLaughlin Group” is the way Ceaser described the eight-week series.

Latino works from all over the world highlight the 21st Chicago Latino Film Festival, April 8-20

The 21st Chicago Latino Film Festival will screen 58 feature films from 20 countries and 31 shorts from 13 countries at more than a dozen venues across the city and suburbs.

The Festival’s Opening Night Gala April 8 will be followed by Silvio Caiozzi’s Chilean art world drama “Cachimba.” Caiozzi and producer Guadalupe Bornand will appear. At Northwestern’s Thorne Auditorium, Chicago Ave. and Lake Shore Drive. 6 p.m. Screening and gala, $65, $50 for International Latino Cultural Center members. Screening only, $20, members $15.

THE REEL THING: News & Notes

STARS HERE IN APRIL. Director Marc Forster’s comedy, “Stranger than Fiction,” starts shooting April 25 at Chicago locations. It stars Dustin Hoffman, Emma Thompson, Queen Latifa, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Will Ferrell.

The story’s about an IRS auditor who suddenly finds himself the subject of narration only he can hear: narration that begins to affect his entire life, from his work, to his love-interest, to his death.

REELSCREEN: News & Notes

AN ENVIABLE PROJECT. A post job for Leo Burnett and client Philips Sonicare dental hygiene that Machete editors started in May and kept growing and growing finally ended two weeks ago.

“Philips is an international player,” notes Machete partner Luis Landgraf, “and the number of spots kept growing and they were sent back and forth to Germany, Holland and Japan.” Everybody edited, he says, meaning: Marty Bernstein, Scott Cohen, new addition Kenan Legg and Mary Roland.

‘Necessity,’ fulfillment of an old ambition led Peter Riegert to direct after 35-year acting career

Peter Riegert comes to town Dec. 14, not as the famous actor he is, but as co-writer, director/producer of “King of the Corner,” his first indie feature.

It will be screened at 5:30 at the AMC River East theatre, followed by Q&A with Riegert and his cinematographer, Mauricio Rubinstein (“Casa De Los Babys”). Kodak sponsors as a promotion for its new Super 16 250D daylight stock, utilized in the Riegert feature.

He shares with ReelChicago’s Ruth L Ratny the path traveled from the decision to direct a full-blown feature four years after directing an Oscar-nominated short.

Record number of locally-made films screening at Chicago Film Festival

One of the films was made in India and one of the directors lives in L.A., but with 12 films ? four features and eight shorts ‐ either made in Chicago, by a local director, or both, there’s more “Chicago” in the 40th Annual Chicago International Film Festival than there has been in recent memory.

Here’s a quick guide to all the Chicago films at this year’s CIFF, which runs through Oct. 21. Venue locations are listed at the end.

“THE JOURNEY,” World Premiere

Local attorney Ligy J.

Marisol Torres’ semi-autobiographical feature has local debut Oct. 9 at CIFF

After garnering a strong response at the Tribeca, UrbanWorld and New York Latino International film festivals, Marisol Torres’ debut feature “Boricua” has its first hometown screening Oct. 9 at the Chicago International Film Festival.

“The response has been phenomenal,” said Torres, who teaches film and video at Columbia College. “It’s a film that inspires conversation.”

Chicago International Film Fest pulls out all the stops for 40th anniversary celebration

The glitz and glamour of the Chicago International Film Festival (Oct. 7-21) ratchets up to ultra high as it celebrates its 40th anniversary, founded by artistic director Micahel Kutza, marked with more premieres, more star presentations, more special presenations and more parties than ever before.

Out of the 1,500 submissions received, 111 features and 54 shorts from 44 countries will screen. Of these two are world premieres, 13 North American premieres and 22 U.S. premieres.

Opening night (Oct.

Jones follows Greenlight movie with indie “Outing Riley” premiering at Chi Film Fest

“Outing Riley,” Pete Jones’ independent followup to his 2002 Project Greenlight movie “Stolen Summer,” has its world premiere Oct. 10 at the Chicago International Film Festival.

“We’ve gotten some offers for a U.S. theatrical release but the money was not what we wanted it to be,” Jones said.

“We’re hoping we can catch lightning in a bottle in Chicago and find a studio to get behind the film. My biggest goal is to get my investors their money back, and get myself another job.”

Art Institute prof’s women’s wrestling doc bows at CIFF before Feb theatrical release

Ruth Leitman’s feature documentary, “Lipstick & Dynamite, Piss & Vinegar: The First Ladies of Wrestling,” is one of four Chicago-made features that will premiere during the Oct. 7-21 Chicago International Film Festival.

Koch-Lorber picked up North American rights excluding premium cable for “Lipstick & Dynamite” after its U.S. debut at the Tribeca Film Festival last May.

The company is blowing the picture up to 35mm for a 30-50 city theatrical release next February, said Leitman, a School of the Art Institute professor.

Green’s indie feature starts
self-distribution route in Chicago

John Mahoney and Ian Gomez star in Terry Green’s “Almost Salinas.”

Where to meet and greet

To network or not to network? In good times and bad, the smart answer is always "yes." Connecting with fellow media pros is a practice that can light a flame under a fledgling career, accelerate one that’s on the rise, or keep an old one out of the obits.

In Chicago, an enterprising networker can literally attend a different event every night of the week and still not cover them all. Some are rather formal affairs while others are as casual as drinks at a local bar.

REELSCENE: Production News and Notes

VIDEOGRAPHER NED MILLER and soundman Greg Quedens spent 11 days shooting across four European countries for The History Channel’s “Giants.”

The 2-hour special, produced by Tom Jenkins Productions of Malibu, chronicles the folklore and legends of giants throughout history. Last week, Miller and Quedens were in Minnesota taping a segment on Paul Bunyon.

Could ‘Super Sucker’ usurp Super Bowl Sunday?

Not everyone is a football freak glued to his TV set on Super Bowl Sunday, reasoned independent filmmaker Jeff Daniels and his managing partner, Bob Brown, of Purple Rose Films. So why not capitalize on Midwesterners who would rather get out of the house and take in a good movie.